Green Man Coffee House

History and News from Austin’s free-spirited Upper East Side

Austin 40 31 August, 2011

Filed under: Parties — howzow @ 10:24 am
Jester Center, UT Campus

Jester Center, UT Campus

Friday, August 26: Far out, man! The seventies came back with a fury this past weekend as our friends, neighbors, and colleagues sent up my 40 years in the Capital City. I wore bell-bottoms, tie-dye, patchouli oil, and a headband. We consumed beer, wine, broccoli salad, and a rice dish while grooving to great rock songs of that era. High school alumna Maureen G and myself well-represented the many Corpus folk who now live in Central Texas.

Here is a photo of my first home in Austin. With a capacity of 3,000, Jester dormitory remains the world’s largest nonmilitary housing complex. The facility has its own ZIP code. Some resident students come from towns not even that big. Despite its much-reviled huge scale and presumed bad food, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Jester, staying two years and gaining 20 pounds. My first roommate was Joe Hendricks, a gymnast from New Mexico and a luck-of-the-draw choice. Second was Clark Parrish, whom I had befriended as a freshman.

The Green Man party began around 7:00 with the first guest who heard Lee Michaels’ Do You Know What I Mean. We ended almost three hours later and hadn’t gotten past the summer of ’72 with the tunes’ chronological order. We will either continue the 70s celebration on a near-future Friday, or wait until next August for the 40th anniversary of my second year in Austin. Stay tuned!

Below is a snippet of my hand-lettered song list from the collection sequenced in 1981 on a reel-to-reel recorder:

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge


Gone to the Dogs 16 August, 2011

Filed under: Parties — howzow @ 9:56 am
Spotlight on Jubee

Spotlight on Jubee

Friday, Aug. 12: Arf, arf, and arf. Oh, did I mention arf? This night’s theme’s bark was much milder than its bite. With dog days behind us on the calendar only, we invited pups from all over to help us lionize Man’s Beast Friend. Alas, Jubee was our only representative of any breed—but for that we didn’t brood. Our tongues wagged nonetheless, and the GM patrons told tales of hounds gone by.

My childhood curs, Rudy and Stanley, were mixed collie-terriers. They lived strictly outdoors. After coming to Austin and dwelling in a succession of dorms, apartments, duplexes, and houses, I lost dog appreciation and became a devoted cat person. Not until I met Lina did I rediscover canine charms. She owned the comical Fat Sammy (miss him) and Jubee (still with us), both inside-outside pets. As an aside, a string of felines owned us through the years, but we’re down to one cat, Sleeky Squirt. She will likely get her special theme party soon enough.

Faithfully following is the lineup of all the mongrel melodies I could locate in one day. I was surprised at the list’s lack of length. What could you add?

artist title


Patti Page How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?


Beatles Martha My Dear


Monkees Gonna Buy Me A Dog


Harry Nilsson Me and My Arrow


Henry Gross Shannon


Big Mama Thornton Hound Dog


Baha Men Who Let the Dogs Out?


Tom Waits Rain Dogs


Everly Brothers Bird Dog


Lobo Me and You and a Dog Named Boo


Rufus Thomas Walking the Dog


Laurie Anderson Walk the Dog


Cat Stevens Was Dog a Doughnut?


Nick Drake Black-Eyed Dog


Nitty Gritty Dirt Band & Teddy Mr. Bojangles


Beatles Hey Bulldog


Led Zeppelin Black Dog


Underdog theme


David Bowie Diamond Dogs


Procol Harum A Salty Dog


Pink Floyd Dogs



Acoustic Punk 10 August, 2011

Filed under: Parties — howzow @ 12:41 am
The Second Opinion belts out the tunes.

The Second Opinion belts out tunes.

Friday, Aug. 5: Once again, the Backyard Theater filled the warm evening air with music and lyrics—this time from the four- and six-string guitars and voice of The Second Opinion, perhaps Central Texas’ only unamplified group that plays all your punk-rock favorites. Its personnel are Robyn Gammill and Alex Lewis, who have played together for several years. Robyn is also half of the duo known as Strategic Biscuit, the band that debuted our stage this past May.

In keeping with the expected Green Man merriment, we all relished the pot-luck feast and beverage selection everyone contributed. By 7:40 or so, the neighborhood shadows had helped mitigate the day’s record-shattering temperatures. A breeze through that shade made the evening quite tolerable.

Backyard Theater patrons

Backyard Theater patrons

The first set set the mood for the whole night, with Robyn’s rockin’ vocalizations and Alex’s steady bottom beat. The appreciative audience chimed in on several hits, granting an air of participation to this intimate gathering.

As day turned to dusk, other talents stepped up to the stage and added variety to the concert. In his second appearance at the BYT, Noah Hodge banged his melodious improvisations on a borrowed guitar. Noah’s childhood friend Courtney graced us with with several unaccompanied songs, then collaborated with young Hodge to crank out some blues.

No & Co

No and Co

But impromptu soul was by no means the extent of our musical diversity that fair Frigga’s. Ahead of The Second Opinion’s final offering was an even fresher act, the Barrett Lewis Experience. Younger brother to the bassist, this diminutive artist let us know what life’s like living with diabetes. Could this be the world’s first musical expression of that challenging condition?

SO with Barrett

SO with Barrett

Other stories too numerous to recount here contributed to a most enlightening and fun time. Don’t miss the next billing!


By the Numbers 7 August, 2011

Filed under: Parties — howzow @ 6:28 pm
a One and a Two and a Three . . .

a One and a Two and a Three . . .

Fri, July 29: Another reason to celebrate this year’s seventh month was that it contained five (5) complete weekends of FridaySaturdaySundays—what better reason for hearing songs based on math. For the final July series, we asked our guests to bring their favorite quantities of something to share, so we got one keg of beer, two bowls of guacamole, three bags of chips, four calling birds, etc.

You can always count on Green Man to produce an entertaining evening, so what follows is that night’s list of melodies, played in numerical order:

artist title


Len Barry 1, 2, 3


Carole King One Fine Day


1910 Fruitgum Company 1, 2, 3 Red Light


Beatles One After 909


Bob Dylan One More Night


Three Dog Night One Is the Loneliest Number


Spinners One of a Kind (Love Affair)


Captain and Tenille Do That to Me One More Time


Another One Bites the Dust Queen


Grover Washington Jr. featuring Bill Withers Just the Two of Us


Beatles Two of Us


King Crimson Three of a Perfect Pair


Tony Orlando and Dawn Knock Three Times


Dave Dudley Six Days on the Road


Jimi Hendrix If 6 Was 9


Eagles Seven Bridges Road


Frazier Chorus Cloud 8


Beatles Eight Days a Week


Dolly Parton 9 to 5


Ray Price Heartaches By the Number


Searchers Love Potion No. 9


Beatles Revolution 9


John Lennon No. 9 Dream


karaoke style Ten Little Indians


Bruce Springsteen Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out


Tennessee Ernie Ford Sixteen Tons


Ringo Starr You’re 16 (You’re Beautiful & You’re Mine)


Crests Sixteen Candles


Chuck Berry Sweet Little 16


Janis Ian At Seventeen


Frank Sinatra When I Was Seventeen, It Was A Very Good Year


Cat Stevens 18th Avenue


Rolling Stones 19th Nervous Breakdown


Steely Dan Hey, Nineteen


Chicago 25 or 6 to 4


Humble Pie 30 Days in the Hole


Paul Simon 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover


Elton John Sixty Years On


Music Man cast Seventy-Six Trombones


Question Mark & the Mysterians 96 Tears


Beach Boys 409


David Bowie 1984


Spirit 1984


Peter, Paul and Mary 500 Miles


Proclaimers 500 Miles


Cannibal and the Headhunters Land of 1000 dances


Rolling Stones 2000 Light Years From Home


Zager & Evans In The Year 2525



. . . and the Moon was Full

Filed under: Parties — howzow @ 5:28 pm
Full of Moon

Full of Moon

Fri, July 15: Following up on the previous week’s schizoid songs, we turned to a related theme, that of the Full Moon herself. Again, in all my years of music programming, I hadn’t done one on Moon themes. Many, many more will likely come to the reader’s mind. Please feel free to post your own suggestions via the comments feature here on the blog.

Meanwhile, I promise you the Moon:

artist title


JPGR (Beatles) Mr. Moonlight


Grateful Dead Mountains of the Moon


Nick Drake Pink Moon


Don Franks, Petula Clark Old Devil Moon


Billie Holiday East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)


Willie Nelson Moonlight in Vermont


Harry Nilsson Moonbeam Song


Debussey Clair de Lune


Fats Waller By the Light of the Silvery Moon


Kate Smith When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain


Ella Fitzgerald It’s Only a Paper Moon


Julie London Fly Me to the Moon


Frank Sinatra Full Moon and Empty Arms


Dorothy Lamour Moon of Manakoora


Barbra Streisand Woman In The Moon


Beach Boys Surfer Moon


Rolling Stones Moonlight Mile


Cat Stevens Moon Shadow


Fred Mitchim Shoot for the Moon


King Crimson Moonchild


Fun Boy Three The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum


Jerry Wallace In the Misty Moonlight


Les Paul & Mary Ford How High the Moon


Hank Williams Howlin’ at the Moon


Elvis Presley Blue Moon of Kentucky


Red Rider Lunatic Fringe


Pink Floyd Brain Damage/Eclipse


R.E.M Man on the Moon


George Harrison Here Comes the Moon


Jonathan King Everyone’s Gone to the Moon


Gale Storm Dark Moon


Credence Clearwater Revival Bad Moon Rising


k.d. lang & The Reclines Full Moon Full of Love


Neil Young Harvest Moon


Beethoven Moonlight Sonata


Henry Mancini Moon River


Michael Nesmith & First National Band Silver Moon


Old & In The Way Midnight Moonlight


Marcels Blue Moon


Van Morrison Moondance


Neville Brothers Yellow Moon



Crazed Night

Filed under: Parties — howzow @ 4:28 pm
First Quarter, Half-Lit, Totally Insane

First Quarter, Half-Lit, Totally Insane

Fri, July 8: Somehow, in all my previous party-hosting experience, I never thought to lose my mind with insane music. That deficit is finally, fully overcome with this, my newest music collection.

How many bonker songs can you remember? Here’s the program I put together:

artist tune time
Pink Floyd Shine On You Crazy Diamond 3:36
Alanis Morissette Crazy 3:40
Helen Reddy Angie Baby 3:21
Count Five Psychotic Reaction 3:04
Dr. Feelgood Crazy About Girls 3:10
Alan Parsons Project Doctor Tarr & Professor Fether 4:15
Fun Boy Three The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum 3:14
Judy Collins Marat/Sade 5:32
Gnarles Barkley Crazy 2:58
Heart Crazy On You 4:53
Hot Chocolate Girl Crazy 3:19
Huey Lewis & The News Give Me The Keys (I’ll Drive You Crazy) 3:50
Fine Young Cannibals She Drives Me Crazy 3:44
Ivory Joe Hunter I Almost Lost My Mind 3:16
King Crimson 21st Century Schizoid Man 6:53
Lindsey Buckingham Go Insane 4:31
Madonna Crazy For You 3:58
Magnetic Fields Crazy For You But Not That Crazy 2:18
Napoleon XIV They’re Coming to Take Me Away 2:12
Patsy Cline Crazy 2:59
Dwight Yoakam Crazy Little Thing Called Love 2:06
Bill Haley Crazy Man Crazy 2:40
Paul Simon Still Crazy After All These Years 3:22
Pink Floyd Brain Damage/Eclipse 4:52
Ramones Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment 1:39
Little Anthony & The Imperials Going Out Of My Head 2:30
Red Rider Lunatic Fringe 4:23
Reefer Madness Opening Song 3:01
Arthur Brown Time/Confusion 5:09
Robbie Robertson Somewhere Down The Crazy River 4:51
Seal Crazy 4:30
Slade Mama Weer All Crazee Now 3:42
Steven Fromholz I’d Have To Be Crazy 4:30
Talking Heads Psycho Killer 4:18
The Doors People Are Strange 2:12
The Who Happy Jack 2:07
Sergio Mendez & Brazil 66 Going Out of My Head 3:05
Warren Zevon Excitable Boy 2:36
Napoleon XIV Split-Level Head 2:05
Willie Nelson Crazy 3:31
Joni Mitchell Twisted 2:21
Elton John Madman Across the Water 5:57

Midsummer Night 11 July, 2011

Filed under: Parties — howzow @ 11:03 am
Fairy Friend

Fairy Friend

Inspired by Cedar Stevens’s annual showing of the 1935 film A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this GM offering happened on St. John’s Day, June 24. It featured many classic summer and sun songs, plus extended quotes from the play and music by Felix Mendelssohn. Several of us wore wings, but our friend Lee’s handmade papier-mâché ones took first place. The mood was jovial and the snacks saporous. Surely the wood nymphs and flitting sprights worked their magic that evening.


QTN Graces GM 16 May, 2011

Filed under: Parties — howzow @ 6:33 am
QTN Sings

QTN Sings

The Green Man backyard theater harmonically resounded Friday the 13th, when troubadour Brian Cutean shared his ballads and six-string virtuosity with an intimate audience.  It was a picture-perfect, cool evening, with folks from the neighborhood and beyond marveling at the space, sampling the potluck cuisine, and digging the sounds.

The event marked the second presentation in as many months on the still-new Shed Stage. Music we heard varied from deep stories to mental dance tunes. Brian stands firmly in the tradition of wandering minstrel, and his lyrics reflect a creative life of purposeful travel and clever commentary. Clad in his tie-dyed splendor and ruffled hat, he’s a joy to behold.

From the Stage

From the Stage

Formerly an Austinite through most of the 1980s, Brian now lives in Oregon. He comes to Texas every spring for the Kerrville Folk Festival, which begins May 26. He pitches his tent directly next to Camp Patchouli and lovingly tends the Crow’s Nest fire circle.

For more information, visit QTN on his website.


Oceanic Feeling 9 May, 2011

Filed under: Parties — howzow @ 3:35 pm
GM Out to Sea

GM Out to Sea

In anticipation of Mom’s Day, we honored the mother of us all, the great body of salty water we call the Ocean Sea. Our small but faithful group of guests related stories of their mothers as the tunes washed over us.

But those weren’t all the sea songs I had. The very next morning, I compiled another 90 minutes of ocean-oriented music. The theme is big enough to demand a reprise sometime soon. That opportunity will likely rise before you know it.

Till the tide . . .


Screening Significance 2 May, 2011

Filed under: Parties — howzow @ 11:37 pm
Wicker Man Sun Logo

Wicker Man Sun Logo

If you’re new to our elaborate parties, you might be wondering why all this fuss about some old movie, its connection with the calendar, and its special relationship to our social space. Here’s the story behind the story.

May Day, also associated with Walpurgis Nacht and Beltane, is the halfway point of spring, a cross-quarter day between an equinox and a solstice. Six months removed from Halloween, May Day’s a witching time almost as important as its better-known counterpart. It’s a good evening to burn bonfires. In Texas, it’s pretty much the first day of summer.

I first encountered The Wicker Man not long after its 1973 release. I was at UT then and saw it in a theater just off campus. Being a conservative Christian at that time, I remember not liking the movie. Time moved on, and I forgot all about it.

In Lina’s pre-Zow era, she made a trip to England in 2001 to research pagan art still evident in old churches. She stayed with her dear friend Louisa Hare near Banbury and toured nearby houses of worship. Sanctuaries over there are rife with gargoyles, grotesques, goddesses, and a peculiar forest guardian called The Green Man. Lina came home with knickknacks, books, and post cards that inspired her to create Green Men motifs from sheet metal and other mediums.

Before I met Lina, I had hosted many May 1 gatherings, but none regarded Wicker or Green Men. Curiously, one of my best-attended events happened on May Day of 1992, but had a jungle theme.

I don’t remember how I rediscovered The Wicker Man, but it was probably during some random midnight Internet browsing late in 2007. Before long, I had purchased the Director’s Cut on DVD, watched it, and realized that the well-told tale needed to be shared. Of particular note was that the inn in the movie was named The Green Man.

Winter Solstice Green Man

Winter Solstice Green Man, 2007

The first of May was still months away, but our next Winter Solstice was just around the corner. Lina and I had already become mutually fond of the idea of The Green Man, so he became that Winter Solstice icon, complete with her drawing of him, loosely modeled after yours truly.

Our first party showing of The Wicker Man was in May of 2008. As with every such event since, we served barley cakes, swilled Scots ales, and encouraged costumes. Not long thereafter, Lina and I realized our neighborhood lacked a coffee-house-style place for quiet conversation. With the addition of a new full-length front porch on our home on the trendy Upper East Side of Austin, we created just that. It was forgone to name it The Green Man. Lina also designed and painted its sign, which you see everywhere in this blog.

Last summer, L and I were delighted to tour sites in Southwest Scotland where the film was shot. Images and commentary from that pilgrimage appear on our blog post from that trip.

Green Wicker Man

Green Wicker Man


Bite from the soundtrack